DHAKA: The explosion, which occurred on Tuesday in the commercial district of the Bangladeshi capital, killed at least 17 people and injured over 100, according to police and medical personnel.


Uncertainty surrounded the blast’s origin, but fatal building fires and explosions are not uncommon in Bangladesh, where safety regulations are often lax.

A seven-story building in Gulistan, a major hub for wholesale goods in Dhaka, was shaken by the blast well before 5 p.m. (1100 GMT).

The explosion leveled several stories and the building’s side walls, sending debris and shards into the busy streets below.

Inspector Bacchu Mia of the police force told AFP that 17 people had been killed, including two women.

Hospital director Nazmul Islam told AFP that over 112 patients were treated for head wounds, fractures, and other injuries at the Dhaka Medical College Hospital.

According to him, “the pattern of the injuries shows that it was a huge explosion,” and he added that hundreds of medical professionals had been called into action.
He also mentioned that some of the injured were transferred to other local hospitals.

Fire Department Chief Brig. Gen. Main Uddin stated that despite rescuers arriving on the scene within seven minutes of the blast, the extensive damage has hampered their efforts to reach people who may still be trapped inside.
There is danger in going into the building at this time, he warned. “We needed reinforcements for columns and beams to continue rescue (efforts) on the ground floor and underground,” Uddin said.

“It’s still possible that there are people trapped inside the building,” he warned.

He also noted that there was no evidence of gas lines or explosives under the structure.

In his words, “we are trying to find the reason” (for the explosion).

Family members rushed to the scene of the explosion in hopes of finding their loved ones who had gone missing.
A bus driver who was caught in the explosion as he drove past the building stated that 30 people on his bus were hurt.

A loud explosion followed by something striking him in the head was described by him to reporters.

Another eyewitness stated that residents of the building’s second, fourth, and fifth floors were trapped in the blaze for some time before firefighters arrived and rushed them to the hospital.

Health Minister Zahid Maleque visited hospitalized victims and told reporters that most deaths resulted from head trauma.

The building, which housed numerous warehouses, stores selling bathroom fixtures, and other commercial spaces, did not suffer a major fire.

“Our officers are investigating whether it was an act of sabotage or an accident,” Dhaka police commissioner Khandaker Golam Faruq told reporters.

According to an army spokesperson, the military also dispatched the bomb disposal unit Rashedul Alam.
Buildings and factories in Bangladesh are prone to explosions and fires because of faulty gas cylinders, air conditioners, and electrical wiring.

Seven people were killed on Saturday in an explosion at an oxygen plant close to the southern port city of Chittagong.
More than fifty people were killed in June of last year when a fire and explosions at a container depot in the same town.